the story - faces, freedom of expression
Saturday, February 27, 2012

01.Walking true the always exciting Kensington Market area and specially Augusta Street in Toronto is very pleasant experience. Weather was not cooperating, surprisingly it was not that cold for February, but it was very windy and numerous passers by are hurrying around me all wrapped up.

BTW I will never understand why this whole area is not pedestrianized long time ago, it is screaming for such a treatment, but that's another urban story. [Partially told as an article about Participatory Urban Democracy HERE].

02.Area is traditionally visually rich but this time something was out of ordinary. Kensington Market is very dynamic neighbourhood and very tight community representing wide range of ethnic backgrounds, typical for Toronto, but exceptionally well represented here. Difference today was presence of faces everywhere along the street. This is adding important social component to the visual scene.

03.Faces portraying people around us were stunning.
[ psychograph #01]. Obviously they are trying to tell us something!?

04.When we talk about the democracy and freedom of expression we always think about the freedom to say what's on your mind. Is everybody capable to verbalize his or her thoughts? Is there any other way to communicate? What about visual, message? Common language of urban space? In this case it is not only individual communication it is closer to collaborative generational expression. I think we can easily interpret this like their opposition to consumerism and constant greed preoccupying even political forces governing our lives.

05.Global community is connected with important social media, by-product of technological advances most probably overlooked by opportunistic societies in the western world. Message is spreading quickly. It is very similarly expressed in a occupy movement happening very intensively all over the world in the last couple of months.

06.Language is universal, isn't it? Yes, I am quite sure that they understand each other very well. Maybe "main society" is not comprehending them clearly but if we pay more attention, it is very simple. It is easy to be, like our mayor, opposed to "graffiti", and dismiss their importance, but think of them as a basic human right of expression, only language is different. We do have to listen, in this case to LOOK.

07.Observe this next scene, [ psychograph #02] only few steps away, displayed in the closed up store entrance.

08.Face of the kid from the "visible minority" group, carefully hugged – protected by her mother is in the center of this composition. It is surrounded by numerous colourful house symbols. Are they making satirical comment of the sprawl in Toronto suburbs? Are they mkong mocery of the "American Dream"? They are not accidentally looking like upward arrows, don't they? Are they also surrounded by floral motives representing natural touch in our urban environment? If you pay closer attention many more details are visible. [Click on the image psychograph #02 right to enlarge].

09.Visual interventions in a way similar to the previous ones are sometimes present and even socially accepted like those two following examples. First one is from Nuit Blanche whole night public city wide art event [surprisingly generously supported by Scotia Bank??], and next one from the OPSEU workers strike. Pay attention to the little card they are holding, very very similar to popular "paste" technique present in urban street designs including one in our example. BTW that face is showing us a tongue with words "I got 63% increase over last 5 years" is representing managers.

10.Kensington Market is little more tolerant, but most of the time this type of visual expression, always socially engaged, is marginalized, pushed to the back alleys, in a same way as those social groups involved in creating them. [ psychograph #03]

11.Other urban centers are much more tolerant to the visually expressed protest. Two sights in the psychograph #04 and psychograph #05 are from Lisbon, Portugal. First one is done by visiting Italian urban artists with the pseudonym name Blu, active since 1999 and quite famous for his socially engaged art. Second one is by equally famous Osgemos brothers from Brazil. Their faces, one "Oil King" sucking exhausted Earth, and the other one disfranchised youth are fighting for the attention over "the backs" of dispowered middle class! Persuasive, isn't it?

12.In both of these Lisbon cases visual language is very articulated social protest. In our Toronto case little more cryptic, and we probably need little more attention. Lets stop preventing young generation to DREAM BIG. Let's look instead of listening to the messages send to our civilization. Why is big portion of that generation unhappy. Least we can do is provide FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION that we are so proud of!

a.j. []

:: select new psychograph ::

:: created by 2012 :: last time updated 03.03.2012 at 20:59:55 ::

psychograph #01
Occupy Toronto participants, November 2011.
Image from Nuit Blanshe, whole night public art event, October 2011.
Faces on OPSEU public workers strike, Seotember 2011.
psychograph #03
psychograph #04
psychograph #05
psychograph #02